There are many devices and apps available in the market to track your ovulation period. One such tool is the ovulation kit which will tell you at what point in your menstrual cycle an egg is released from the ovary. Having intercourse during this period can enhance the chances of conceiving, as that’s the most fertile window.
The point of an ovulation kit is that it can help determine the time when the egg is released, says Dr Priyanka Reddy, consultant fertility specialist, Motherhood Fertility and IVF, Bangalore.
What is ovulation?
Dr Lakshmi Chirumamilla, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad says that pregnancy or fertilization happens around the time of ovulation-when the egg is released by the ovary. “Once an egg is released, it is alive only for about 24 hours. Sperm stays in the body for 3-5 days,” she adds.
“Ovulation occurs only once a month for someone who has a regular cycle. Determining the timing when that occurs is important because fertilization of the egg happens only during a 24-hour window,” says Dr Reddy.
How does an ovulation kit work?
Dr Chirumamilla says ovulation kits work by measuring the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). “When there is a rise in the level of this hormone, ovulation will occur in the next 36 hours,” she says.
How to read ovulation test results?
Dr Reddy says that the LH hormone is actually present at low levels in your body at all times. The darker the color of the positive line, the higher the level of the LH hormone — which means over the course of the next 36 hours, the egg is going to get released.
“Sometimes when you test, you may get a faint positive line, which means the hormone is not at its peak. Basically, the positive line has to match with the control line in terms of the color,” Dr Reddy says.
Have intercourse on the day that you start seeing this darker line and continue to have intercourse for the next 2-3 days.
When is the ideal time to test your ovulation?
Menstrual cycles vary from person to person. “For someone who has regular menstrual cycles, which means a 28-day cycle, the ovulation starts on the 14th day. You can start testing your ovulation using a kit four days prior to the midpoint of your cycle,” she says.
She adds that LH hormone peaks in your body during the morning hours. It can take three to four hours for the hormone to be detected from then. Hence, it is ideal to take the test between 12pm to 8pm.
“You have to do the test at the same time every day,” she says, explaining “For example, if you’re doing it at 3pm today, you have to do it at 3pm the next day and the day later. Check if the positive line gets progressively darker with each passing day until the line appears the darkest.”
“You can even test it twice in a day if necessary. Once between 11am and 3pm and the next between 5pm to 8pm,” she says.
Are ovulation kits accurate?
Dr Reddy says that ovulation kits are about 97% accurate. This test can only determine when your body is at its peak fertility and has the best chance of resulting in pregnancy.
Dr Chirumamilla says “There is a lot of pressure to have intercourse in a particular window of time. Hence, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) started giving guidelines saying that we should not focus only on the ovulation time,” she says.
ASRM recommends having intercourse every 1 to 2 days during the fertile window which can help maximize fecundability. Fecundability is the probability of conceiving within a specific menstrual cycle.
Other ways to track ovulation
One can also make a note of the changes that are occurring in one’s own body to track ovulation. One of the important markers, he says, is the cervical mucous.
“When ovulation is about to occur, a woman will find that her cervical mucous appears thin, sticky and quite drawn out compared to post ovulation when it will feel thicker and it cannot be drawn out into a string,” says Dr Parikshit Tank, consultant fertility specialist at Ashwini Maternity Hospital, Mumbai.
Another accurate way to track ovulation is to track egg growth and release through sonography at the doctor’s office, he says.
Ovulation kits can be helpful for couples who want to time their intercourse based on the most fertile window in the woman’s menstrual cycle. It tracks the level of the luteinizing hormone through a urine sample and can be a convenient way to predict ovulation at home.